There’s Gold in Them Thar Hills!
Travel back in time to the heyday of the Gold Rush during your stay at Mountain River Lodge. In the early 1800s, a massive gold mining fever swept through our area, followed by the silver boom, as a result, nearby towns flourished. Visit the charming main streets and many attractions of these historic mining towns. Catch the gold fever that gripped popular imaginations of pioneers and outlaws. Pan for gold or descend 1000 feet into a historic underground mine. Eat ice-cream in a turn-of-the-century soda shop. Take a ride on a restored steam locomotive. Visit an old jail where outlaws were once held. The area is chock-full of westward expansion history, so wherever you choose to explore, our staff can help you time travel into the old west. Please contact us today!
Historical Driving Loop (full loop 4-hour drive)
Your old west adventure starts by heading east on Highway 24 from Lake George, south onto Highway 67 to the gold mining districts of Cripple Creek and Victor. *Continue south on Highway 67, which includes the Gold Belt and some amazing views. Take Highway 50 to Canon City, continue north on Highway 9 to Guffey and onto Hartsel. Extend your trip further north on Highway 9 to Fairplay. Return to Mountain River Lodge on Highway 24. See map.
The map shows an alternate route from Cripple Creek to Canon City via Highway 11
*Note: Highway 67 becomes a dirt road called “Phantom Canyon Road” between Victor and Canon City, an old railroad bed with gentle slopes, but long and winding. It’s usually fine for a two-wheel drive but it depends on the season. High clearance vehicles are best. It also narrows to one car wide in several spots. An alternate road to Canon City is highway 11.
The charming historic gold mining town of Cripple Creek is just a 30-minute drive from Mountain River Lodge. Cripple Creek’s main street is lined with beautifully restored turn-of-the-century buildings, home to delightful shops, antique stores, restaurants, and casinos. A visit to Cripple Creek is the perfect day trip for the whole family or the poker, roulette and slot enthusiast. A taste of the Wild West you won’t want to miss.
Cripple Creek is mostly known for its active casinos, however, there are several must-see family-friendly attractions to explore.
- Cripple Creek Heritage and Information Center
- Cripple Creek and Victor Narrow Gauge Railroad
- Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine Tour
- Outlaws and Lawmen Jail Museum
- Wildwood Casino – A Vegas-style casino.
- Brass Ass Casino – Play blackjack, craps, roulette, and high five poker.
- Midnight Rose Casino – Victorian charm and state-of-the-art slot machines.
- Bronco Billy’s – Known as Cripple Creek’s lucky casino, with the jackpot cannons roaring every hour.
Dubbed the City of Gold Mines, Victor is a designated National Historic District. This well-restored mining area is akin to Cripple Creek, just nine-minutes away, on Hwy 67, and central to the Gold Belt National Scenic Byway. A stop in Victor to tour a real working gold mining site is a rare find.
No gold or minerals were found here, however, Canon City was built by gold and silver barons from nearby mining camps of Cripple Creek and Leadville during the early 1900s. Today the town is known for its abundant recreational opportunities. Home to the 1,200-foot deep Royal Gorge canyon, carved by the wild Arkansas River, one of the most popular attractions in Colorado. During the turn-of-the-century it was a pleasant place for migrants to settle, the Arkansas valley provided plenty of food and water, and was served by three railroads. Now the Royal Gorge railroad route carries tourists instead of miners and historic architecture hold modern restaurants, galleries, and tea rooms. Enjoy all that Canon City has to offer.
- Mainstreet in Downtown Canon City
- The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey
- Royal Gorge Bridge and Park
- Royal Gorge Route Railway
- Arkansas White Water River Rafting
A tiny historic town built in 1896, a mile off the Adventure Cycling Association’s Trans-America Bicycle Trail. You’ll find rocks from the Precambrian and the Paleogene era exposed here. The Precambrian rocks comprise both igneous intrusive and metamorphic rocks over one billion years old.
The South Platte River flows through this small town offering superb trout fishing and hunting year-round. Founded in 1880 by Samuel Hartsel who came to the area to seek gold, instead found cattle ranching more prosperous. He sold his meat to the miners in the surrounding camps. Hartsel was one of the first ranchers to raise Shorthorn cattle in Colorado.
Venture a few miles north of Hartsel and you’ll find the once mining boom town of Fairplay, in the region of South Park. Visit South Park City, a museum comprised of 34 buildings accurately representing a mining town between 1860 and 1900. With over 60,000 artifacts you’ll get an authentic sense of what economic and social life was like in the gold mining towns of the old west.
We want to make certain you get the most out of your visits to all the historic areas near Mountain River Lodge. Let us help you plan the perfect trip! Enjoy luxury lodging while you explore the old mining towns of Colorado at Mountain River Lodge!